Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen has claimed that the government was forced into “a humiliating climbdown” over plans to scrap ticket offices at railway stations.
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Darren Paffey, pictured, said the move was good news for the many Southampton passengers who still buy their tickets at rail stations, many of whom are elderly or disabled rail users who might otherwise struggle to use digital alternatives.
He said it will also be reassuring to the hundreds of thousands of people employed in the British rail industry, including staff employed in Southampton.
“Ministers have wasted a lot of time and money to work out what was clear to most people all along, that ticket offices and their staff are a valuable supportive service for passengers, which help keep rail travel popular,” said Paffey.
“99% of the 750,000 consultation responses were objections.
“The government has been forced into a humiliating climbdown, disowning the very proposals which their ministers were supporting a few months ago. It’s time now for ministers to move forward by seeking collaboration with train companies, passenger groups, staff and trade unions to ensure the continued delivery of secure and accessible services putting passengers before profit.”
Transport secretary Mark Harper (Con) said in a statement: “We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament. The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by Ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.”
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Plans to close rail ticket offices in England scrapped - BBC